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- Writing is for me a form of therapy, nothing more.
- I'm simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?
- I have no nationality — the best possible status for an intellectual.
- My idea, when I write a book, is to wake up someone, to fustigate him. Given that the books I have written arose from my malaises, not to mention my sufferings, it's exactly that that they should transmit in some form to the reader. A book should overturn everything, call everything into question.
- “I wish I were a cannibal – less for the pleasure of eating someone than for the pleasure of vomiting him.”
- Reason is a whore, surviving by simulation, versatility, and shamelessness.
- You are done for - a living dead man - not when you stop loving but stop hating. Hatred preserves: in it, in its chemistry, resides the "mystery" of life.
- Does our ferocity not derive from the fact that our instincts are all too interested in other people? If we attended more to ourselves and became the center, the object of our murderous inclinations, the sum of our intolerances would diminish.
- From denial to denial, his existence is diminished: vaguer and more unreal than a syllogism of sighs, how could he still be a creature of flesh and blood? Anemic, he rivals the Idea itself; he has abstracted himself from his ancestors, from his friends, from every soul and himself; in his veins, once turbulent, rests a light from another world. Liberated from what he has lived, unconcerned by what he will live; he demolishes the signposts on all his roads, and wrests himself from the dials of all time. I shall never meet myself again, he decides, happy to turn his last hatred against himself, happier still to annihilate - in his forgiveness - all beings, all things.
- Imaginary pains are by far the most real we suffer, since we feel a constant need for them and invent them because there is no way of doing without them.
- Man must vanquish himself, must do himself violence, in order to perform the slightest action untainted by evil.
- Negation is the mind's first freedom, yet a negative habit is fruitful only so long as we exert ourselves to overcome it, adapt it to our needs; once acquired it can imprison us.
- No human beings more dangerous than those who have suffered for a belief: the great persecutors are recruited from the martyrs not quite beheaded. Far from diminishing the appetite for power, suffering exasperates it.
- Our first intuitions are the true ones.
- To exist is equivalent to an act of faith, a protest against the truth, an interminable prayer. As soon as they consent to live, the unbeliever and the man of faith are fundamentally the same, since both have made the only decision that defines a being.
- We derive our vitality from our store of madness.
- Show me one thing here on earth which has begun well and not ended badly. The proudest palpitations are engulfed in a sewer, where they cease throbbing, as though having reached their natural term: this downfall constitutes the heart's drama and the negative meaning of history.
- Fear can supplant our real problems only to the extent -- unwilling either to assimilate or to exhaust it -- we perpetuate it within ourselves like a temptation and enthrone it at the very heart of our solitude.
- Torment, for some men, is a need, an appetite, and an accomplishment.
- Tyranny destroys or strengthens the individual; freedom enervates him, until he becomes no more than a puppet. Man has more chances of saving himself by hell than by paradise.
- To exist is a habit I do not despair of acquiring.
- World history is nothing else than a repetition of catastrophes waiting for a final catastrophe.
- Only one endowed with restless vitality is susceptible to pessimism. You become a pessimist --a demonic, elemental, bestial pessimist-- only when life has been defeated many times in its fight against depression.
- Much more than our other needs and endeavors, it is sexuality that puts us on an even footing with our kind: the more we practice it, the more we become like everyone else: it is in the performance of a reputedly bestial function that we prove our status as citizens: nothing is more public than the sexual act.